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Nutrition in the Dominican Republic

Alice Jean, M.D.

Distinction in Global Health

Alice Jean, M.D.
Globe showing the Dominican Republic

I traveled to the Dominican Republic for three months to work with five different communities surrounding Santo Domingo on a nutrition project. It was my fourth time in the Dominican Republic (DR) since I started medical school.

I went on the week-long Mano a Mano: Spring Break Trip my first year of medical school with a team of medical students and faculty to serve in mobile clinics through Foundation for Peace. During the trip, I saw firsthand and through speaking with Dominican physicians that parasitic diseases and dehydration were problems that could be prevented.

I returned to the DR that summer to complete a quality improvement project to decrease diarrhea and dehydration through oral presentations about boiling water, hand hygiene, and drinking enough water. During my summer project, I learned that community members surprisingly did not see a large need for water education, so I participated in the Spring Break Trip again my second year of medical school to conduct a community needs assessment with the help of a team of medical students.

Based on the community needs assessment, I identified that nutrition was common topic of interest among the communities surveyed, so I returned to the DR for my scholarly activity period to study if a nutrition fotonovela or brochure had more of a significant impact in improving dietary practices. A fotonovela is similar to a comic book but with photographs. I partnered with pastors and community leaders to present the nutrition brochure or fotonovela to community members and administered pre- and post-surveys.

I treasured the opportunity to create long-term relationships with community members and Foundation for Peace staff with the shared goal of improving their health.

– Alice Jean, M.D., Distinction in Global Health

Map showing the location of the Dominican Republic

Map of the Dominican Republic.

Playground promotes Dominican Republic and U.S. flags

A playground promotes the Dominican Republic and U.S. flags.